Research: Death and Surprising​ Connections

Sometimes things connect in unexpected ways.

For example, I’m coming to the end of Satin Island by Tom McCarthy – the book that amounts to a sprawling analytic look at a disparate range of subjects by ways of a vague throughline, given to us by the Anthropologist narrator, Zero. Zero’s friend Petr developed thyroid cancer, and Zero’s thoughts on the matter always try and bring it into critical tandem with the building of his ‘Great Report’. The passage announcing his death reads as follows

key-to-immortality-text-messagingTwo other things that came to mind, the first, which was recently installed, was the miniature dogs on loan from the Horniman Museum currently displayed in the reception area of Wimbledon College of Arts.

They are the bodies of minuscule taxidermy dogs, small enough to stand fully on the palm of your hand, stood to attention in specially made bell-jars. They were created to satisfy the Victorian thirst for ever smaller dog breeds – the taxidermist being able to fashion out of death dogs the size breeders are cruelly limited by pesky zoological restraints.

One of the main things the objects have done is brought death to the forefront as a subject for discussion. There are those off-put by the notion of such Frankensteinian artefacts.

The other thing that came to mind was the digital graveyard of Facebook profiles belonging to the deceased.


Estimates vary, but logically, there will soon come a time when the profiles belonging to the dead will outnumber the living, especially if one assumes that facebook’s uptake popularity will droop.

I have a dead friend on facebook. He went to my high school and was a few years above me. His name was Dan, his last name escapes me. He only died in 2015, I think.

People posted farewell messages on his wall.

It’s truly bizarre.

What I get from this:

  • Death comes to us all. But the commemoration of those who have died is for the living. Ever accumulating, and the collecting of the dead in places they don’t belong feels unnatural, they don’t interact with the platform so what’s their purpose?
  • Could documenting me now avoid such a bizarre thing happening to me?